Part Two: Standing in front of the refrigerator Grandpa pointed to the cupboard above the refrigerator informing the crockpot was stowed behind the white 4-slice toaster. Also he said that its only accessible by the tallest person in the room. Standing in the kitchen I pulled down the toaster handing it to Grandpa who said “perhaps we should sell these things we don’t use,” then placed it on the counter as I pulled the crockpot out of storage.
With the red crockpot on the counter I grabbed a slightly wet-cleaning cloth from the sink and gave it a quick once over removing the aged dust particles. Removing the lid of the crockpot I opened up the two-litre bottle of A&W rootbeer soda and poured half into the pot. Next I sliced through the white string holding the four-pound pork roast in together then sawed it in half. Gingerly the two halves of pork went into the crockpot, then the lid back on top and I turned it on to the low setting.
“Are you sure you don’t want to add the Stubbs BBQ sauce now?” asked Grandma seeing the container still sitting on the counter. “The BBQ sauce gets applied after 4 to 5 hours of cooking on low,” I replied. She starred with skeptical eyes then shrugged and walked back to her awaiting iPad and Sudoku puzzle.
Shauna reached out her hand for the front door knob and just before we exited Grandma says, “If you decide when you are out that you need to add the BBQ sauce, you can just call me and I will do it for you.” We thanked her for the offer then proceeded outside to the awaiting Tacoma.
The path to the Similkameen Valley is terribly easy. You hang a left at the only street light in town and follow Highway 3 up over Richter pass then down the west slopes into the awaiting valley below. The drive takes all of twenty minutes on a slow day. Today, seemed like a slow day.
“What’s on our itinerary?” I asked the wife as we sped west, “Well, you know I want to go to my favourite vineyard: Forbidden Fruit Winery. Then I am good. What about you?” she replied. “Yeah, I’m good with that. I’d like to try Rustic Roots and maybe Seven Stones, too,” I responded watching the valley below open wider and wider as we climbed the hill.
Twenty-eight minutes later we pulled off the highway and into the west side parking area of Rustic Roots Winery & Cidery. A couple ticks later the truck was backed into a space in front of a set of antique doors standing side by side.
We walked up to the east side doors and spotted a sign informing us to go to the south side of the building as the tasting room moved because of their new COVID-19 procedures. On the south side of the building they divided the space into 3-parts: (left) wine & cider tasting (middle) cash register and hot food items (right) fresh vegetables and fruit.
The clerk behind the counter asked what we were after in-between retrieving items for her current customer. She informed we needed to be in the left section of the counter for tastings and she would be with us momentarily.
At the tasting section we read through the many names of wines and ciders but didn’t recognize any of the names. “Looks like we might not get what we came here for. Guess we’ll just have to try everything,” I said laughing. Shauna looked at me with a wide brimmed smile, “I like the way you are thinking.”
“Hi, thanks for coming to Rustic Roots. Sorry for the wait. Have you been here since we’ve reopened?” Asked the girl with a name tag of Shelly. “No. This is our first time here in quite a while. We’d like to do a couple of tastings if that works for you?” Shelly looked at us, explained how each person takes a wipeable sheet, and marks with a highlighter the 5-ciders or wines that they would like to try. Then she will prepare them and we pick them up at the west side of the building where we can enjoy them on the picnic tables overlooking the orchard. We acknowledged the instructions then chose our five samples being sure we didn’t order any of the same ones.
I went with 2-ciders (Cherry Berry and Apple Rhubarb), 2-sparkling wines (Pippin and Iced Ambrosia) and a desert wine (Santa Rosa). Shauna went with 2-ciders (Snow and Perry), 2-dinner wines (Apple Pear and Plum Rose) and a sparkling wine (Fameuse).
The samplings came out of the west side of the building each on a board holding 5-mini mason jars with each sample awaiting our palettes. Also Shelly presented us both with an engraved Reidel red wine glass to take home as a gift for stopping by their winery. We graciously accepted the glasses then went to find ourselves a table to enjoy and critique each sample.
After a couple of picnic style photographs each of us took our first sip then passed it to the other person for them to try too. We followed this ritual through all 10-samples. In the end we could only agree on 3-of the samplings. The Apple Rhubarb Crisp cider, Apple Pear dinner wine and the Santa Rosa desert wine. Both of us agreeing that the Santa Rosa would be spectacular poured over a vanilla bean ice cream.
Back around the corner we went to discuss with Shelly our list of purchases. “We’d like a 6-pack of the Apple Rhubarb Crisp, and Perry ciders and a bottle of the Apple Pear,” ordered Shauna. “I’m sorry, we only carry those ciders in 500ml bottles,” responded Shelly. We looked at each other and the order instantly changed. “Okay, we will take two Apple Rhubarb, one Apple Pear and an Apple Pear, too”.
Shelly pulled the bottles, placing them into a bag and walked over to the till on the other side of the partition. Both of us moved around the partition and a jar of Chipotle Chocolate Pepper Jelly JUMPED OUT at me and it along with a pair of Chocolate Chip Cookies were purchased.
Back at the truck we stowed the new purchases into the half empty box from yesterday’s wine run then I began shoving cookie into my mouth as Shauna pulled out a bag of Paqui Lime chips from our snack bag then she says “perhaps we should have brought a picnic lunch with us?”
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